Even Cynics Grow Old

A year from now you'll wish you had started today
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

“No, that is the great fallacy: the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful.” —Ernest Hemingway, A FAREWELL TO ARMS My first job in publishing was as an editorial assistant at a small book packaging company. I was fresh faced, a go-getter, and the only one in the office who knew how to work the computer. I have such a clear memory of my first…


Author Ayelet Waldman on All-You-Can-Eat Donuts and the Best Jane Austen

Love and Treasure by Ayelet Waldman
Saturday, November 28, 2015

It’s hard for me to contain my excitement at having New York Times best-selling Ayelet Waldman here on The Ball. Ever since I read LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS, I’ve been a fan of her writing. She is not afraid to challenge her readers with her nonfiction, and yet she welcomes them in with her poignant fiction. I devoured her most recent novel, LOVE & TREASURE, in a weekend. As…


Gratitude Shmatitude

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

After reading Louise’s heartfelt post yesterday about all the people who have helped her along the way, I’m tempted to go schmaltzy and do the same. But the thing is, that’s not me. I have a reputation among my friends of not being a terribly emotional person. I’m the kind of person you come to when you want a problem solved, not the person you turn to for a good…


When Life Is a Distraction

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I’m terribly organized. I use a homemade planner where everything is scheduled and to-do’d and recorded. I keep a family calendar online so everyone in my family knows where he or she is supposed to be. My schedules are exact. Dance drop-off/viola pick up are coordinated for the same time every Tuesday. I run four mornings a week. I have the 5th grade literary journal meeting every Wednesday. I edit…


On Not Selling a Book

Rejection Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Storm Clouds and Sky.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This week we’re talking about being on submission and selling our books. I’ve discussed being on submission before. And I think my fellow Debs will have plenty to say on selling books. So I’m going to talk about not selling a book. We constantly hear of famous books that didn’t sell. Gone With the Wind was rejected thirty-eight times before it was published. Yet the fact is they are famous…


Holly Robinson on the Twisty Road to Publication + CHANCE HARBOR Giveaway

Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson
Saturday, November 7, 2015

I’m a sucker for an enticing family drama so I was thrilled at the release last month of Holly Robinson’s fifth novel, CHANCE HARBOR. Her novel is based on the true story of a young girl abandoned at a bus station by her mother, who everyone fears dead. The book is set partly on Prince Edward Island, where Holly’s summer home is one of her favorite places to write. Holly’s…


NaNoWriMo, Or How I Cheated My Way to Finishing My Novel

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

In 2001—yes 14 years ago—a friend of mine said, “I heard about this writing challenge where you try and write a novel in a month. It takes place in November and you need to write 50,000 words.” “That’s freakin’ crazy!” I said. And then a moment later, “I’m in.” So what that I was working at a 70-hour-a-week job? So what that I was planning my wedding? So what that…


Scared Cow and Other Tales of Horror

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My father loves to tell the story of when I was a toddler living in the wilds of Westchester County in New York. In this suburban landscape, I had a paralyzing fear. Every night, before going to bed, I’d need to be reassured that I would safe from the evil creatures that surely lurked outside my window. Every night, I’d cry to my parents. Every night, when they rushed in,…


Putting Your Characters Through the Wringer

The wringer through which we are supposed to put our characters
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

This week we’re discussing how we torture our characters. Characters must be put through the wringer, made miserable and low, thrown every obstacle, and then come out the other end a better person for it. Chuck Wendig has a great piece on how to mess with your characters (but with more f-bombs than we tend to use over here on the Deb Ball. Not that I don’t love a good…


Day Jobs (Or How I Turned My Traumas into Art)

Picking kiwis in Israel
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

We’re talking day jobs this week on the Deb Ball. Oh, the joy of the day jobs. I’ve had day jobs I have loved. Loved, loved. And I’ve had day jobs that I’ve hated. Like poke-my-eyeballs-out hated (which would be a much better image had I not smacked into a branch last week while running and given myself a corneal abrasion. That I suppose is a story for another day:…